Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant has enough space to expand and meet the needs of the city and surrounding region for the next 25 years, according to a planning document approved on Monday.
City council endorsed the Wastewater Treatment Plant Master Plan which outlines $367 million worth of upgrades to the wastewater system.
When the four upgrades are done by 2032, wastewater treatment will extend onto three lines servicing communities as far south as Olds, as far north to Lacombe and as far west as Sylvan Lake.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling said regionalizing wastewater treatment will result in efficiencies.
“And it underscores very much the environmental protection of the (Red Deer) River because we have the smallest and cleanest river in the South Saskatchewan river system,” Flewwelling said.
Regionalization will also make way for higher levels of sewage treatment, he added.
One upgrade will involve adding ultraviolet disinfection, a process which uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms.
“We would be bringing (treatment) up to a tertiary standard so that it’s the same quality of water going into the river as in Edmonton or Calgary,” Flewwelling said.
Phase 3 upgrades are underway and should be finished by this fall. The next work, Phase 4, will see a line constructed and operational by 2011 south of Red Deer.
It will accommodate the needs of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission, which plans to build a line from Innisfail and then add subsequent legs including from Olds.
City manager Craig Curtis said it’s important to get federal and/or provincial dollars to help build the south regional wastewater line into the embankment of the new ring road, known also as the north highway connector. The road would extend south from Hwy 11A down, cross the Red Deer River and eventually wrap around to McKenzie Road (19th Street).
“In establishing an agreement with this (South Red Deer commission), we need to make it abundantly clear that proceeding with the river crossing is dependent on the province coming to the table assisting with this project in one way or the other,” Curtis said.
Phases 5, 6 and 7 will be dependent on the speed of regionalization.
Jeff Miller, environmental planning superintendent, said if regionalization continues at the anticipated pace, those three phases would occur over the next 10 to 20 years.
The master plan says that funding for the upgrades will come from the city of Red Deer and regional commissions/provincial funding.
The city would pay for capacity improvements related only to city growth. Those dollars would come through wastewater utilities. Based on current funding programs and subject to budget availability, the province is expected to share in the commissions’ portion of the cost.